Tribpedia: Texas Department Of Criminal Justice

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is the state agency responsible for managing state prisons and jails and the oversight of more than 150,000 offenders. The agency also supervises offenders released from prison on parole.

The board is composed of nine members who are appointed by the governor to staggered, six-year terms. The governor also designates one member as ...

With Execution Set, Perry Faces Further Scrutiny

Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo
Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo

Tonight, Texas is scheduled to execute its 11th death row inmate this year. As Matt Largey of KUT News reports, controversy surrounding the inmate's case could put the spotlight back on Gov. Rick Perry's death penalty record, which has received national attention in recent weeks.

Forensic Panel Calls for Review of Past Arson Cases

The Texas Forensic Science Commission said it would not issue a finding of misconduct against the state fire marshal in the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case. But the commission recently reached agreement with the state fire marshal’s office to review other arson cases that may have resulted from faulty evidence.

Video: Sam Bassett: The TT Interview

The former chairman of the Forensic Science Commission on why he believes the governor replaced him, whether he thinks political motivations were behind it, and why he argues it is critical for the Texas justice system that the commission finish its investigation into the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case.

Former Texas Forensic Science Commissioner, Sam Bassett - September 09, 2011
Former Texas Forensic Science Commissioner, Sam Bassett - September 09, 2011

Sam Bassett: The TT Interview

The former chairman of the Forensic Science Commission on why he believes the governor replaced him, whether he thinks political motivations were behind it, and why he argues it is critical for the Texas justice system that the commission finish its investigation into the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case.

Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo
Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo

Lawyers Seek Reprieve for Inmate Based on Race Testimony

When Duane Edward Buck was on trial for capital murder in 1997, Dr. Walter Quijano told jurors that the fact he was black meant Buck was more likely to be violent in the future. Today, Buck's lawyers asked Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to stop the scheduled execution to allow a new trial without racial references.

53-year-old Acy Williams checks that he has all of his belongings shortly after being released from the Harris County Jail on Thursday, August 11, 2011. Williams, who often sleeps on the Houston streets, wandered around the blocks surrounding the jail waiting for his girlfriend to be released.
53-year-old Acy Williams checks that he has all of his belongings shortly after being released from the Harris County Jail on Thursday, August 11, 2011. Williams, who often sleeps on the Houston streets, wandered around the blocks surrounding the jail waiting for his girlfriend to be released.

Despite Risks, County Lockups Continue Late Releases

County jail inmates are often released in the dark of night — sometimes miles from town — with little or no money and no transportation. Despite the tragic stories of death and assault, state lawmakers this year failed to approve legislation requiring releases in daytime. Many sheriffs contend that the problem needs a local fix, not one mandated by lawmakers.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/22/11

Tan on coming prison school cuts and online sales taxes, Root on Rick Perry's support for tax increases when he was a lawmaker, Ramshaw and Serafini on what "Perrycare" would entail, yours truly on the differences between Perry and George W. Bush, Philpott on the passions of the Paulites, Murphy and Seger unveil the Trib's Texas Public Schools Database, Hamilton on UT's answer to calls for improvements in higher ed, Galbraith on predictions that the record heat in Texas will be a long-term problem and Aguilar on the legal shootout over gun sales in Texas: The best of our best content from Aug. 22 to 26, 2011.

Texas Forensic Science Commission Chairman John Bradley listens to other board members during a scheduled meeting on September 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.
Texas Forensic Science Commission Chairman John Bradley listens to other board members during a scheduled meeting on September 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.

Despite Questions of Bias, John Bradley Will Stay on Innocence Appeal

Over the objections of the Innocence Project, a state judge has declined to remove firebrand Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley from continuing to investigate the case of Michael Morton, whose 1987 murder conviction has been called into question by new DNA evidence suggesting someone else killed his wife. 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/15/11

Aaronson analyzes TWIA claims and lawyer fees, Aguilar talks border security and voter ID with Chuy Hinojosa, Grissom on the latest inmate exonerated via DNA evidence, Hamilton interviews John Sharp on higher ed and the SEC, Murphy interactively maps the changes wrought by redistricting, Philpott on who's running Texas while Rick Perry is out campaigning for president, Ramsey on Perry's history of off-the-cuff remarks, Ramshaw on Perry's childhood years in Paint Creek, Root on Perry's extraordinary first week on the trail and Tan on even more ways Texas will change on Sept. 1: The best of our best content from Aug. 15-19, 2011.

Video: Texas Closes Central Prison Unit

For the first time, Texas is closing a state prison. Take a look inside the historic Central Unit in Sugar Land as workers prepare it for shuttering. And hear from the Sugar Land economic development director, who explains what's next for this former company town.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Prison Unit in Sugar Land, TX. Amid budget cuts, Texas is closing a prison unit for the first time. The historic Central Unit will close at the end of August.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Prison Unit in Sugar Land, TX. Amid budget cuts, Texas is closing a prison unit for the first time. The historic Central Unit will close at the end of August.

Day 19: Sugar Land's Prison a Casualty of Budget Cuts

Throughout August, the Tribune is featuring 31 ways Texans' lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature take effect. DAY 19: City leaders in Sugar Land have been eager for years to see the historic Central Unit shuttered. The state's crushing budget shortfall and a chance to save about $12.5 million a year have made it possible.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/8/11

Our all-hands-on-deck series on new laws — 31 Days, 31 Ways — continues, Root covers a challenge to the governor's school finance fix and the tax that makes it work, Philpott forecasts a presidential media tsunami will hit Texas, Murphy with a look at midyear campaign reports from candidates and PACs in Texas, yours truly on the quiet spot at the top of the 2014 ballot, Hamilton on government-required vaccinations against meningitis, Grissom reports on the heat wave in un-air-conditioned Texas jails, Aguilar on the private security business along the state's border with Mexico and M. Smith's interview with Nicole Hurd on how to get more high school students into college: The best of our best content from Aug. 8 to 12, 2011.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/1/11

Aguilar on the denial of asylum petitions by border judges, Galbraith on the history of wind, Grissom talks to the head of the Jail Standards Commission, Hamilton on plans for the state's new online university, Murphy and Ramsey on political warchests at midyear, Philpott on Texas' trucker shortage, Ramsey talks data privacy and abortion with Susan Combs, Ramshaw on the Rick Perry's experimental adult stem cell procedure, Root on the response to The Response, M. Smith on the country's could-be next first lady and Tan on a few of the ways Texas will change on Sept. 1: The best of our best content from Aug. 1 to 5, 2011.

Death row inmate Larry Swearingen during an interview on July 27, 2011, at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.
Death row inmate Larry Swearingen during an interview on July 27, 2011, at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.

Criminal Appeals Court Grants Rare Execution Stay

In a rare move Thursday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, stayed the scheduled Aug. 18 execution of Larry Swearingen, convicted of the 1998 rape and murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Swearingen’s lawyers maintain he could not have committed the crime because he was in jail when Trotter was murdered.

Roddy Dean Pippin
Roddy Dean Pippin

Cattle Rustler Asks Texas Court to Hang Him High

Convicted cattle rustler Roddy Dean Pippin wants a Texas court to string him up in the Hardeman County square and let him hang for his crimes rather than remain in prison until the state says he will be released. Pippin says he "desires to die with his boots and spurs on and without his face covered, for he wishes to see the lights go out at high noon." 

Interactive: Visualizing Key Debates in the Lege

The Texas Tribune captured every debate, tirade and joke uttered into the microphones in the House and Senate during the 82nd legislative session in our collection of online transcripts. Our latest series of data applications helps you identify when important debates occurred by visualizing the frequency of keywords.

Detention officer watches over inmates from a control room inside the Harris County Jail.
Detention officer watches over inmates from a control room inside the Harris County Jail.

In Texas, Jailbreaks Aren't Like the Movies. Usually.

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It's a favorite plot device on television and in movies, but jailbreaks are pretty rare, and at county lockups in Texas successful escapes are even rarer. But that doesn't stop inmates from trying. And trying. 

Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade announcing the launch of the 2010 census in Texas
Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade announcing the launch of the 2010 census in Texas

This Will Be on the Test

Texas Weekly

This week, Secretary of State Hope Andrade conducted a lottery that determined the order of the 10 new proposals on the November ballot. Each amendment already won approval from two-thirds of the House and Senate and now needs a nod from a majority of the voters. Here's the rundown... 

Rais Bhuiyan, the sole survivor of a 2001 shooting, speaks out at a press conference in Austin on July 14, 2011 about his lawsuit against Gov. Perry for not upholding his victim's rights .
Rais Bhuiyan, the sole survivor of a 2001 shooting, speaks out at a press conference in Austin on July 14, 2011 about his lawsuit against Gov. Perry for not upholding his victim's rights .

Updated: Shooting Victim's Case Sent to Federal Court

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Rais Bhuiyan is suing Gov. Rick Perry to stop the state from executing the man who shot him in the head 10 years ago. Bhuiyan, an Israeli Muslim who lives in Dallas, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday claiming that Texas would violate his rights as a victim by proceding with the scheduled execution of Mark Stroman on July 20.